Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankful

Day 2
I am thankful for my best friend Rachel. No matter how much time goes by, no matter what changes happen in our lives, she is always there. I love that we can always pick up where we leave off. We always have the best time together and I always come away from our visits feeling refreshed and thankful that there is someone like her in the world who gets me the way she does. We've had over 10 years of friendship and I look forward to many more.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness

I haven't blogged in forever and since I don't believe that the entire universe wants to know my life story, I decided to post here instead of through social media.
I have always wanted to follow the "Thirty Days of Thankfulness" trend that happens during the month of November but have never taken the time to do so. Here is my best attempt at being thankful for thirty days.

Day 1
I am thankful to have a house with a roof over my head and a furnace that warms it from top to bottom. I can't imagine living without those things or being exposed to the elements on a regular basis. I realize it is a luxury that much of the world is fortunate enough to have, but I also know there are those who do not have it. I am thankful I don't have to worry about shivering in the cold trying to keep myself and my children warm and protected.
Thank you, God, for giving us this house and for the warmth and protection it provides our family.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Chopped Crap

I just finished watching an episode of Chopped. It was an episode with four female contestants. After the first round, the contestants were asked about what they thought being one of four women competitors. The woman to answer talked about how most people think a woman who cooks is Betty Homemaker. Then she promised the judges that she is no Betty Homemaker because she is a tough competitor. Another one of the contestants chimed in that she is ready to bang down the door because she is so tough. It was okay for them to bash Betty Homemaker! I was appalled. To these women, Betty Homemaker is a weak, non competitive low life who deserves to be mocked because she doesn't earn a paycheck. The epitome of how the world sees stay at home moms.
Needless to say, it got my blood boiling.
It makes me want to prove that women can stay at home, raise their children, take care of the household, be faithful to one man, be bad ass in all ways and be happy and successful in their role. Wow, it's like what God wants for my life exactly, but with more swearing.
And then I realize, it doesn't matter what these people think or what anyone thinks for that matter. The only thing that matters is that I make much of what I have been given.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blessings. Two of them.

When the going gets tough, it isn't always easy to look at the bright side. It's no surprise that when Andrew is out of town, the kids and I seem to butt heads much more often. This week has been no exception. Judah has been giving me such a rough time this week. From tantrums to manipulating to lying, it's not his usual MO. For some reason when dad is gone, the rule book goes out the window.
On top of parenting by myself this week, we are all fighting off a cold. I have been feeling pretty under the weather and in turn have had very low energy. The weather has turned much colder and the thought of getting out and about does not seem appealing to me this week. I'd rather stay curled up at home in a sweatshirt, wrapped in blankets nursing my ailments.
I have been meaning to take some outdoor pictures of the kids with the beautiful colors of fall. There is a group of trees along our street that had lost it's perfectly bright yellow leaves this week. I drove past them several times, promising myself that as soon as it was dry enough we would walk down there and take some photos. Unfortunately, when I drove by this morning, the leaves had all been cleared away by a landscaper. I was so bummed. They were the perfect color.
We spent the afternoon at home, cozied up in the house staying out of the rain. At about 3 pm, the sun suddenly began peeking through my bedroom window. It cast a beautiful orange glow over the yard. It as then that I realized we have maple leaves in our own back yard. How silly of me to forget that our neighbor has a giant maple tree. You have to remember that I have only lived here three months.
I gathered up the kids, threw on our boots, snagged my camera and a rake and stomped outside. I raked up a few piles for the kids to throw around and jump in. Even though the leaves were damp, the kids were so happy. I did my best to snap as many photos of them with the sun radiating it's perfect amber beams on us. Judah became over the top excited and kept bombarding me in the legs and back with leaves. I was getting frustrated. I just wanted a few good pictures of them in the leaves and he was making it so difficult. I had to do a lot of coaxing to get him to face me, smile and throw leaves everywhere. Aren't kids just supposed to do that stuff naturally?
I hadn't looked through the pictures until this evening after they have gone to bed. I love how an instant on camera so perfectly captures their livelihood. The pure joy and delight in Judah's face when he destroys a pile of leaves is so eminent. He is grinning from ear to ear in almost every single picture. It made me stop and think: Let him be a boy. Let him be rough. Let him be silly. Let him break things that can be broken. Let him run wild.
And Audrey, my sweet Audrey. I cherish her free spirit. She has this carefree joy and delight that spills into everything she does. There are a few pictures of her with her hands thrown up into the air. It captures the very essence of who she is. I was reminded to never stifle that. Cultivate it. Give her room to run and breathe and be who she is.
I love my children. A given, I know. I needed that little reminder of skimming through those photos that they are such a delight. They bring me so much joy. I only hope that I can give to them the same joy and happiness that they bring to me every day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I think it's safe to say...

I'm a runner.
Over the weekend I completed my first half marathon. Hold up. What? Did I read that correctly? Yes, it seems I did. I just completed my first half marathon. Not only that, I did it with a pretty kick ass time: Two hours, ten minutes and six seconds. My goal was anything under 2:10, but I'll take it.
You'll have to pardon my shock and disbelief. The reality of my accomplishment is still sinking in.
When I think about how far I've come in one year, I am filled with disbelief. I was thirty pounds overweight, exercising from time to time, recovering from a stress fracture and bruised pride.
I decided it was time to do something about my weight gain and kicked it's butt to the curb. That itself is another milestone to celebrate. I've maintained my weight loss for a year. This is something I wasn't sure I would be able to do.
After I dropped the pounds, I started hitting the gym even more. I have to give credit to my sister in law who had just given birth and was trying to drop the baby weight. We were each other's support system and motivators for getting to the gym at least three times a week. My favorite class was body pump, a weights class. I had never seen results like that before from any exercise program. We continued on our quest for health. She also dropped about 20 pounds and is still looking better than ever.
In the spring, my sister asked me if I would like to enter a lottery to win a spot in the Nike Women's Marathon & Half Marathon. I decided it was worth a try. My goal of running a half marathon the year before was unattainable at the time after I suffered a stress fracture and was out of commission for several weeks. I wasn't sure I would ever take up running again after my huge disappointment and wasted emotional investment. I basically just said, why not? The outcome couldn't have been any worse than the previous year.
This particular race, as I mentioned before, was lottery style. We signed up as a team of three: myself, my sister and my brother's wife. We knew there was a good chance that we wouldn't get in. Oftentimes, women will try for years to be chosen out of the random draw without any luck. We waited a few short weeks, and voila! We were in just like that!
I started training right away. I was very cautious and wary that I might have terrible shin splints just like last time. To my surprise, training was much, much easier than before. I'm sure weighing 30 pounds less had a little something to do with it. I was able to increase my mileage and my speed without much trouble at all. I was still taking it easy and cross training most of the time. I ran about once a week until summer. I started running twice a week and continued to cross train the other 3 days of the week. My best friend asked me to try out a hot yoga class with her on the side. I was immediately hooked. I loved how the heat of the classes complimented my sore muscles after running and challenged my strength and stamina.
As the summer wore on, I continued to increase my mileage and the number of times I ran per week. I was feeling fantastic and was actually thinking to myself that I might be able to do this race. I hit a little bit of trouble a few weeks before the race. I was having terrible IT band pain. I decided to kick it down a notch and stick to cycling, hot yoga and one run per week. I knew that as long as my endurance was where it should be, I would get by on race day.
Race weekend rolled around and I have to say that I wasn't nervous about the race itself. I was excited and anxious to do what I had been training to do for so many months. I had finally made it to the place where I knew that I had the physical ability to run for thirteen miles. I didn't know if my mind had the same stamina. I had "run on eggshells" for the past six months, wondering if I would suffer another stress fracture or debilitating shin splints. It never happened. I had survived training.
As I ran across the starting line on race morning, I still had doubts about my mental ability to push through those blocks that told me I couldn't do it and that I didn't have what it took to finish like a champion. Even around mile six when I was almost halfway done, I was still battling those thoughts. I still kept running. When I got to mile ten, I realized that yes I was going to finish this race. I knew I could finish strong. The IT band pain that had been bothering me for the last few miles had suddenly vanished. I plowed up the last steep hill and down the other side. When I hit the 11.5 mile mark I wanted to walk so badly. My legs felt like jello. My arms were so tired from pumping at my side, but I kept on running. I knew that if I stopped it would mean defeat. My goal was just out of reach. I could taste the victory. I am still in shock when I write this and tears are spilling down my cheeks. I did it. I finished. I ran the entire race. 13.1 miles. The biggest doubter was me and I crushed those doubts the moment my feet crossed the finish line. I am a champion because I finished what I set out to do. A goal that seemed unattainable and virtually impossible a year ago was now reality. I now know what so many people before me have said. You can do anything you set your mind to. There is no excuse in the world that should stop you. Yes, you can do it. Don't cheat yourself. Those last two phrases have been my mantra during my training.
I didn't know if I would want to continue running after this race. I thought once I had reached my goal I would be ready to move onto something new. I was wrong. Where's the starting line?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Running Play List

I just put together a new running play list. I'm really excited about it and I cannot wait until this evening heat cools down so that I can lace up and hit the pavement.

  • Run the World (Girls) - Beyonce
  • Till the World Ends - Britney Spears
  • Go! - Common
  • Shake it Out - Florence + The Machine
  • Drumming Song - Florence + The Machine
  • Houdini - Foster the People
  • Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
  • Ni**as in Paris - Kanye West & Jay Z
  • Human - The Killers
  • Midnight City - M83
  • Uprising - Muse
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
  • Champagne Supernova - Oasis
  • Where the Streets Have No Name - U2
  • Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve
  • T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)
  • Roll Up - Wiz Khalifa
  • Heads Will Roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • The Kill - 30 Seconds to Mars

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Well we are home from our amazing trip. It took a while to readjust to the time difference. Our sleep was off and we were waking up at 4 am to eat breakfast. It was a little bizarre, but things seem back to normal now.
I feel like my head is swimming lately. All of the sudden it seems like there is so much to do that I can barely think straight.
I discovered earlier this week that preschool enrollment begins in February at all schools in the area. I was way behind. I hadn't toured one single school or gotten any information at all. As most classes are nearly full, I am scrambling to find the right preschool for Judah this fall. He will be 4 in August. I can't believe how time has flown. Is he really old enough to start school?
Next on the list is my 10 year high school reunion. I did not know that I would be so involved in planning this event. It seems that the people who typically plan the reunion just don't have time or frankly aren't interested in planning. Because I liked the people that I graduated with, I want to make sure we have a good party. So I have stepped up to the plate a bit and am trying to figure out where we can have this event. Have I mentioned that it's only 3 months away and we have yet to determine a venue or a budget. Why is it so difficult to get people to respond? It seems like a good portion of our class is interested in attending, but when I ask for feedback I am greeted with silence. It's not making planning very easy. At this rate we'll end up with just a small group, but that might not be such a terrible thing.
Also on my plate is the task of getting ready to move. We won't be moving until the middle of summer, but we will be downsizing quite a bit. Therefore I need to pack our now 2400 square foot house to fit into about 1200 square feet. We are moving in with Andrew's parents to save a good chunk of money so that we can eventually buy a house. (If the bank ever takes back our old one. Yep, we're still waiting!) I need to come up with a way to make everything fit without having our new space feel cluttered and stifling. I am trying to pack away as much as I can beforehand and also get rid of all the junk and clutter that I won't want to put away in storage. I hate the idea of opening boxes full of junk in a new home. That would be the ultimate headache. The kids will also be sharing a room at Andrew's parents', which brings me to another task:
Moving Audrey into a twin bed. We need to get her out of her crib pretty soon here. We just took her pacifier away earlier this week. She has had kind of a rough time with it. The first few days were the worst, but last night she slept without crying for it. Today she even fell asleep for her nap without asking for it. I think she is on her way to forgetting about it. Now that she is pacifier free, I feel like we can move forward to the next step of getting her into a big girl bed. We'll probably wait a few weeks so that it's not too much change all at once.
In the midst of all of this, I am trying to make a budget so that we are saving as much money as possible. The more money we save the shorter the amount of time we will be living with the in-laws. We have gotten pretty comfortable with the way we spend money and we have not been very frugal. I would like to learn how to live more minimally and save as many pennies as I can along the way.
In thinking about a new house I have also been searching for new decorating ideas. Our hope is that we can buy kind of a fixer upper. That way it will be a less expensive home, but we can do some work on it to make it fit with our family.
Can you see why my head is spinning lately?